Putting a better world at our feet

Industry:Circular Economy

Global carpet manufacturer Desso, has a big ambition. They want to make carpets that deliver outstanding value in design and functionality and contribute to the health and well-being of the people walking on their carpets and to wider society too.

Realizing the circular economy
Desso CEO Roland Jonkhoff understands the impact carpet can have on our lives. “Carpets that absorb sound, capture fine dust, or reflect light can all contribute to a positive, uplifting environment,” he explains. But what makes Desso’s vision particularly remarkable, and why partnering with them seemed like a natural fit for DLL, is the joint ambition of both companies to realize a circular economy business model.

Turning used carpet into new carpet
Jonkhoff: “Rather than customers disposing of used carpet, we are building our company around the Cradle-to-Cradle® system, taking apart the backing and yarn from any used carpet so they can be put back into new production. However, taking back carpet tiles at the end of their lifecycle is an option not yet commonly used by customers. At this moment, it is something we negotiate with every customer for every project individually.”

Leasing solutions support Cradle-to-Cradle
“Including the take-back of carpets in the leasing option helps ensure that products will be recycled according to Cradle-to-Cradle principles. We contacted DLL in 2012 and their willingness was 100%.” Desso’s plans fitted in DLL’s Life Cycle Asset Management Program, under which DLL uses its extensive knowledge to find solutions to extend the lifecycle of original products, or give them a second life.

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The carpet leasing option gives customers an affordable way to install carpets that contribute to a healthier environment."

The missing link
DLL’s Sustainable Business Developer, Frits Engelaer, worked with Desso to create a carpet leasing option that would act as the missing link in their Take Back™ program. Jonkhoff: “It allows us to keep control of our carpets so they will be returned at the end of the leasing period. At the same time, it gives customers an affordable way to install carpets that contribute to a healthier environment.”

Meeting financial and operational needs
Setting up a leasing agreement that fits the circular economy model and satisfies the interests of all the different partners involved, from designers and architects to end users, has not been simple. “The involvement of DLL has been invaluable,” says Jonkhoff. “With their long history of leasing, DLL helps us understand not just the financial impact, but the operational part of the business.”

The concept is gaining ground and the first leasing agreement has already been signed."

Getting the circular economy rolling
Engelaer: “It is great to have found a partner who shares our vision on Life Cycle Asset Management, and with whom we can learn together and find ways to bring sustainable solutions to the market that not only have an immediate positive impact on the customer, but on the whole world in the long-term.” Roland stresses that the carpet leasing idea is still in the early stage. “Customers need to shift towards a more sustainable way of thinking.” But the concept is gaining ground and the first leasing agreement has already been signed.